The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has expressed its appreciation to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for coming up with a pastoral guidance on illegal drug trafficking and addiction.
“We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen, Dagupan and President of the CBCP, for his support and participation to the national anti-drug campaign,” said Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr., Director General, PDEA.
The pastoral letter entitled: “Addiction, Freedom and Disciples” encompasses illegal drugs and the phenomenon of drug dependency as a social decay out to consume the moral fiber of society, in particular the youth, and the baleful effects of drug trafficking which gripped
everyone’s consciousness through Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina facing execution by firing squad for bringing in kilos of heroin in Indonesia but was granted a last minute reprieve.
“In his letter, Archbishop Villegas called for a more resolute action from the government to prevent the trafficking of illegal drugs and arrest the offenders, to dismantle the drug syndicates and cartel involved in the illegal drug trade and to make sure that the seized drug evidence are not being recycled or sold back in the streets,” Cacdac said.
The CBCP likewise appealed for relentless prosecution of those responsible for transporting illegal drugs and for those who recruit persons to become their couriers.
In response to the challenge, PDEA, since 2012, has sustained its campaign against drug smuggling by conducting high-impact operations that led to the arrest of transnational drug syndicates consisting of 104 Chinese/Filipino-Chinese drug group members, 50 members of African Drug Syndicates (ADS) and 12 Mexican drug cartel members and their cohorts and the seizure of approximately 83.66 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu.
From 2014 to present, PDEA and other law enforcement agencies have dismantled five clandestine laboratories used in the manufacture of shabu and apprehended 22 drug personalities, including two laboratory owners and 10 laboratory workers. The total estimated value of illegal drugs seized is almost P4 billion. “These achievements were the result of PDEA’s shift of operational thrust to suppress the very source of drug supply,” Cacdac noted.
To prevent recycling, PDEA conducts regular destruction of confiscated/seized or surrendered illegal drugs and controlled chemicals as mandated by law and witnessed by all stakeholders, even during the pendency of the case, provided an ocular inspection has been performed. At the operating unit’s level, PDEA requires the presence of third party witnesses as required by law, in the conduct of the inventory and photograph, led by an elected public official and representative from the National Prosecution Service, or media.
All drug personalities arrested by PDEA have been charged in Prosecutor’s Offices/Courts and maintained a case monitoring on these drug cases. PDEA has a strict policy to give priority to attendance in court duties.
In monitoring of drug syndicate recruiting Filipino drug mules, Task Force on Drug Couriers (TFDC) which is co-chaired by PDEA and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), was established in February 2010.
On its part, the Church, whose mission is to provide its flock, with the vision of a good and full life, said that to fight illegal drugs they have to sustain pastoral programs and bring God closer to the youth. According to the letter, “The dioceses and parishes must
invigorate and energize their youth ministry to make them more creative, pro-active and responsive and come up with judiciously planned activities and programs for and by the youth with the help of and in collaboration with youth ministers, both priests and
Efforts must be made by adult Church people to lend a sympathetic ear to the young and become familiar with their social norms. More importantly, the Church is needed to be a place of refuge for the youth to overcome restlessness and alleviate their natural curiosity
through productive interaction with other people who can show them the fulfilling path of discipleship.
“Also, the CBCP’s letter touched upon the evils of drug smuggling illustrating the sad state where malevolent people running drug cartels and syndicates continuously exploiting and preying on the innocent to carry out crimes for them,” Cacdac said.
To address the problem, the Church suggested that ministries for the pastoral care of migrants and their families should set up socio-civic desks in very parish where regular seminars can be given to persons who plan to work overseas. The ideal is for Filipinos to work in our country, at the same time be with their families and not have to be compelled to work abroad. Nonetheless, the economy should also provide an abstract of security to those who intend to work and travel and not be a conduit for any criminal activity.
Speaking of the Catholic faith, PDEA also supports Pope Francis’ stand against any type of illegal drug use. “No to any kind of drug use. Say yes to life!”- This was the message delivered by His Holiness before the heads of anti-drug agencies worldwide during the 31st
International Drug Enforcement Conference on June 20, 2014 in Vatican City, Rome.
Cacdac was among the hundreds of international delegates in attendance to witness firsthand the papal message.
Pope Francis said that the problem on illegal drug use cannot be solved with illegal drugs. “Dealing with the drug menace knows no compromises. By agreeing to the use of recreational drugs by drug dependents is not the solution to the drug problem. The use of
substitute drugs is not an adequate treatment but an indirect surrender to the problem,” he said.
Cacdac on his part said that the prevention aspect in the battle against dangerous drugs should be a multi-sectoral approach and that includes the participation of the Church, parishes, non-government organizations and civil society groups. (Mr. Glenn J. Malapad, OIC, Public Information Office, PDEA)
Posted By: Edrillan Pasion